Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's embarassingly easy! (For me)

Lately, when a friend or new acquaintance remark about how good or "bilib" or how difficult it must be that I am homeschooling my children, I feel embarrassed and almost like a fake! The fact is it is NOT hard at all. Sending all of them to school would be harder for me and my husband compared to what we chose to do 6 years ago- NOT send them to school early.
Reading poetry and learning Roman Numerals.
I am not climbing a mountain here or swimming across to Samal Island. I am just spending time, teaching, eating, doing errands, with the 3 of them. They just don't go to school. That's all.
From the start, my husband and I agreed that we will not bring school home (although I did try at one point but abandoned  the attempt less than a third of the way). We ask ourselves, what we would have liked when we were kids? From our answers we worked out a plan, choose our materials, activities etc. We were prepared that our kids will be "delayed" in some aspects of learning. Which translated to standardized tests while the children are young is not a good idea. Which means that we expect them to learn how to read and write and do basic math as the need and/or desire arise, which ever comes first. Therefore, we do not have deadlines, unless we set one. And when we set a deadline we discuss it and set the reasons why there should be one.
What usually happens it that I work with one child, for my 7 year old, its 30 minutes in the morning. And while I am with her, I ignore the others for a while. Which can look like this,
While working with my 7 year old, my 11 year old is reading and my 3 year old son making crashing sounds while burying himself with some toys.
A lot of the things I and my husband do with our children are the same stuff that parents with "schooling" children do. And I think parents with "schooling" kids are doing a lot more in a day than me or my children (except for my eldest now), plus the pressure of a deadline. What we have "found" by homeschooling our children is a "system"/ way of life that is working suitably for our family and the goals and ideals that we have set in our given location at this point in time. I feel and see my children are involved, happy, sincere and motivated. For me, it's easy and effective, nothing heroic or necessarily better here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

11 years old yesterday

My dear Ashley,
While you were sleeping on the eve of your birthday, I kept thinking...
How you came to us... The day Dad and I "met" you...
And all the time in between...
How special you are...
I told you before, I will say it again! 
I thank God everyday for you.
Happy Happy Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We are not short on Natural Childbirth...

In the documentary, The Business Of Being Born, the interviewer asks 3 OB residents when was the last time they have seen natural labor/birth and the answer was Rarely, Almost never!!!! Wow! I was shocked and freaked out! What kind of training are they getting? What is going to happen to all us? To our babies? To my children? Just WOW!!!!
I started asking the same question to the hospital labor and delivery room staff when I get invited (or I invite myself) to give a talk or have some sharing,
"When was the last time you have seen/ witnessed/ assisted Natural Labor and Birth?" 
And so far the answers have been, with in the week or in less than a week a mother got admitted while in labor and gave birth with out drugs. So my follow up question is how did you help this mother cope? What was done?
And the staff's answer was somewhere in the line/thought of:
"Ma'am its okay just hold on and push as best as you can when its time because an epidural will sky rocket your bill to PXXXX or more.

This answer has been given jokingly, seriously and questioningly. And from these words of encouragement, all goes as it should. Baby is born drug free and hopefully breastfeeding is initiated following the Department of Health's Essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care Protocol.
So, unlike the US based documentary, from my very small informal survey of labor and delivery room staff here in Davao City (or at least in the 3 hospitals I have visited), they do get to witness natural birth unfold. However, we might have a situation where women who can afford epidurals are offered or oriented (not specifically during labor , and not necessarily by the labor and delivery room staff) to avail of it. Meanwhile, women who desperately feel like they need it are dismissed simply because they can't afford it, which to a sense could be a blessing? It seems irrelevant for me, at the moment, to put in time and resources to figure out this hunch. The better and more effective questions to ask and address, for now, are:
1. How to better support women in labor who have no choice for pain meds?/
2. How do women who can afford pain meds but choose not to, be better supported?
3. And why should hospital staff and patients aim for drug free birth?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thinking if it will be an Expedition or Time Travel Adventure?

I am up and awake . Just finished attending a Lamaze International complimentary webinar (so happy and thankful that they are doing this. The time difference means nothing to me). I could not go to sleep just yet, wondering if our Expedition will push through tomorrow. I am reading this to my 3 little ones now,
Got this from Book Sale for P77.00 a few
years ago.  Hard bound.
I told them we will visit Valley Forge tomorrow morning but both girls didn't seem up to it. Maybe because they heard me and Ate Mea talking about grocery, must haves, etc in the kitchen and took it to their heads that we are going to the grocery tomorrow morning just after passing by the free playground in Abreeza. Talk about planning skills.

Since there was no pilot/ aeroplane back in 1777, I wonder if my little boy will play along? Should I just skip the "Expedition" tomorrow?
Technically, we are going to time travel if we play? Or maybe they don't like to go on an "expedition" coz I am planning it too much and I stop the game to make clarifications and analyze our "situation"? 
WHOA...There goes me analyzing now. Anyway, I'll ring it up to them tomorrow and if they don't respond we'll just look for Valley Forge on the map and head to the grocery.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carnival in Rio!!!!

With less planning and more "I'll go with the flow attitude" we started our preparation for the biggest party on earth!!!! CARNIVAL started at exactly 9:10 this morning. We traced Brazil on the map and check out its neighbors.

All our make up and pictorial upset our dear pilot. He got all angry while looking for his goggles and he refused to let us ride his airplane. So we decided to walk to Brazil. (Ignore the angry little boy!) When we started dancing and singing he left his sulking mood and joined in.

We searched for birds of brazil, after the dancing and ate snacks. We  found a short video clip about tribes in the amazon which prompted me to search for another video to watch and found this. 
Yellow happy horse is pulling our float!!!

Same as the last expedition, we cleaned up first before video. Next trip will be tuesday next week as I have to attend a midwife talk on thursday!!! Where shall we go?

Wordless Wednesdays 2

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Friday, July 8, 2011

An Hour in Antarctica!!!

 "Antarctica, Antartica"
No frost bites, scrapes or major falls!This time I listened far better than I did during the first expedition. We saw whales, penguins and a creature in the distance. It was so far. We knew it was moving but we couldn't accurately say if it was a bear or a seal? (Bears in the south pole?) We kept the dogs busy and didn't have time for a snowball fight!!!

 It's so hard to sincerely stay in my assigned role. When did pretend games ended for me? I don't seem to have the confidence that my expedition team mates have. They seem so sure there will be a certain/ specific whale in Antarctica. While in the back of my head I am asking, is there a whale such us in Antarctica at this time of year?

 Also cleaned up after our snacks and official photo before settling down to watch  The whole movie: Endurance, Shackelton and the Antarctic . Our expedition zoologist's reaction after watching the film: "Oh wow it's so dangerous. If I watched the film first, I wouldn't want to go to that place."

Too late for that! We've gone and are safely back!
For our next trip we'll read up a bit, watch a video first maybe even stay longer. I ought to loosen up! There need not be a plan just go with the flow, stay with your assigned role. Next stop,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I'm giving math and writing a rest for the whole of July!!!! We are off on a 45 minute expedition twice a week! Tuesdays and Thursdays...


We checked out the Northern Lights, Fairy tales and Witches this morning. We hopped into the plane and had to stop somewhere in Russia as we forgot to wear winter clothes. COLD!!!!! As soon as we got them, we were back on board with our trusted pilot who made a water landing in Norway!

We also got to check out how Oslo's city hall looks like. So this afternoon, I'll be driving pass our city hall so my fellow explorers can check it out!!! We also found this movie, but no luck with the fairy tales. Good thing our chef thought of packing up bread and tea!

It will be better next time, coz now I know
1. I'll listen to my expedition team more, (Explorer and Chef, kept mentioning Roald Dahl, but I was so busy with my own ideas, now I wonder what he has to do with Norway?),
2. I will get one video ready before we start.
3. We'll have a passport to write down what we want to check out, flag etc...
4. It is best to clean up right after our "paper work" before videos and snacks!

Next stop Antarctica!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Budding Reader...

Oh dear... Oh dear...
You'll soon be reading quietly on your own

You've learned the alphabet in song
Wrote me letters that needed to be decoded
And now you are learning and wanting to read
On your own...

We hardly did any phonics drills
And all these years
I just read and read and read to you...
And you listened and asked
And that was enough for me to know that you understood.

Let's finish the book we started, tomorrow...

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I need to dislodge this invisible big thorn
out of my system that's certainly stuck in some body part of mine.
Born out of love or fear, I simply can't decide.
Is it me holding on to inevitable change?
Is it my mothering intuition?
I was so certain in my choices, in my speech
And in the outright simplicity that lay before me.
Now I find my self standing in front
Of an all positiveraw, naive 
and promising result?  
It must be me,
holding on in an attempt to let go....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Calamity Next Door

A flash flood within the city!!! I was alarmed, I am sad and scared. How shall I tell my children? They are bound to find out. How can I not tell them? They should know. This is real.  We know some friend who are affected. Swift and the losses permanent. I can't imagine the grief of all those who have lost loved ones. The idea of starting over seems daunting. No amount of work can ever compensate for what was swept away.
 My daughter asked: "Mom, will that ever happen to us?"
And the truth is, I hope not and I do not know. My 2 girls looked alarmed. So, I brushed it off and said it's not likely, why don't you think of a way to help out?

I know it will not lessen the pain for those who got wet in this sudden calamity. I can not give false reassurances to my young children...but we can not just sit down and do nothing. We cried and hugged and went out with hope that our meager efforts will reach those who needs it most. There are donation drop offs at Victoria Plaza and Matina Town Square.
How can we stop this from ever happening again?
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